Game at a Glance

Matchup: Colorado Buffaloes (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) at No. 15 Washington Huskies (5-2, 3-1)

Kickoff: 1:40 p.m. MT

Where: Husky Stadium in Seattle. Capacity: 70,158. Turf: FieldTurf

TV: KDVR (31)

Radio: KOA (850 AM & 94.1 FM)

Odds: Washington by 17

Coaches: Colorado — Mike MacIntyre, 6th season (30-39; 46-60 career); Washington — Chris Petersen, 5th season (42-18; 134-31 career)

Series: Washington leads 11-5-1, including 4-3-1 in Seattle

The true character of a team typically is revealed after adversity hits.

Colorado's football team was rolling along until a 31-20 loss at Southern California last week. The Buffs (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) now look to rebound Saturday at No. 15 Washington (5-2, 3-1).

That's a brutal bounce-back assignment for a program that hasn't defeated a ranked opponent on the road since 2002, but the Buffs believe their character showed up this week as they hit the practice field in the days following their first defeat.

"It brought out the best of us," receiver KD Nixon said, adding he felt the Buffs were locked in for practices.

Whether that results in a victory or not remains to be seen, but the Buffs came away from the loss at USC still focused on a conference championship, while also realizing they've got much to prove about how good they truly can be this season.


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"We always have something to prove just because people don't look at Colorado and think we are an elite college football team year in and year out," quarterback Steven Montez said. "We've had something to prove since the season started. We just have to keep moving in a positive direction."

To get back on the winning track this week, the Buffs have to knock off a foe that has owned them - and most of the Pac-12 — for the past few years.

Colorado quarterback Steven Montez feels the Buffs have had something to prove from the beginning of the season.
Colorado quarterback Steven Montez feels the Buffs have had something to prove from the beginning of the season. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

Washington is coming off a loss, as well — a 30-27 overtime defeat at Oregon - but the Huskies haven't lost back-to-back games since November 2015 and have routed the Buffs to the tune of 41-10 and 37-10 in the last two years.

Huskies' quarterback Jake Browning is among the best in Pac-12 history, running back Myles Gaskin is the career rushing leader at UW, and the defense is once again loaded with NFL prospects.

Washington isn't invincible, however.

"We'll have our work cut out for us, but we are definitely a good team," Montez said. "It is tough to win in college football in general. We just have to keep working and hopefully work a little bit harder and push ourselves up to that next level."

For CU, the next level is competing with teams like Washington. So far this season, the Buffs have defeated every team they were supposed to beat. Their five wins have all come against teams with losing records. Their only game against a winning opponent was last week against USC.

Facing Washington offers CU an opportunity to prove it can challenge for the Pac-12 title and win games nobody expects it to win.

"I think our players always play with that edge and play with that spark," Montez said. "Every game our guys get up and go play football for the entire fourth quarter length of the game, as hard as they possibly can. The biggest key now is competing. Keep continuing to compete through the reminder of the season and I think we'll put ourselves in good positions to be successful."

At the halfway point of the season, the Buffs are in a good position.

Despite coming off the loss to USC, CU has a better record than many imagined at this point. In fact, they've already exceeded expectations for the season in the eyes of some, as Las Vegas oddsmakers put the Buffs' over/under at four wins before the season.

The Buffs are also one of just two teams in the Pac-12 South with one conference loss (along with USC) and they are very much in contention for the division title.

Led by Montez and the captains, the Buffs come into Seattle still believing in themselves.

"The confidence is still there," Buff back Davion Taylor said. "We're still trying to look ahead and just trying to finish off the season great and go to the Pac-12 championship."

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33